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Savior (Savages #3)
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Elsie has a problem. She has a mystery she is bent on solving, a mystery that led her to run for her life down the streets of Navesink Bank until she found herself rescued by a sexy stranger.
Paine has a past. He’s done everything in his power to move on from it, to distance himself from the things he has done. But then one night he finds himself saving a woman whose naive dabbling in matters she doesn’t understand threatens to drag him right back into the world he had done unspeakable things to escape from in the first place…
* This is a stand-alone with an HEA, but features secondary characters from “Monster” and “Killer”.
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Thank God for charity 5ks and the heavy layer of guilt people slathered on to get you to agree to do such a thing in the first place.
Those were thoughts I never thought I would think. See, I hated running. I hated running the way most people hated clowns. Meaning with a fiery passion. People who thought sweating through their makeup and clothes and chafing in unmentionable areas would be a jolly good time were seriously whacked.
That being said, thank God for all those pre-dawn mornings I was dragged out of bed to train before my mind was awake enough to object to the absurdity of it all. After all, anyone with a fully functioning brain would know sleep was much more preferable to going out in the freezing cold and running along the empty streets.
Because, well, that training was paying off.
In the way that I was running for my life. Sort-of. I was pretty sure anyway. See, I was being chased by two men. Now perhaps all they wanted was to tell me I had a pretty smile. But I seriously doubted it seeing as A- I didn’t smile at them and B- they just caught me snooping around some kind of warehouse they were obviously in charge of protecting and C- men didn’t chase you down street after street to compliment you. So yeah, I was sticking with the ‘running for my life’ idea.
My lungs were burning no matter how much I tried to control my breathing and my leg muscles were screaming in objection. And, well, running in jeans wasn’t fun. Then there were my feet. Ballet flats were cute and all, but they weren’t meant for running and the ones I was wearing had been rubbing at the backs of my heels well before the running started. I half-expected to, when I took them off later, assuming I lived, that there would be some nice cuts that would ensure there would be nothing I could put on my feet for a week that wouldn’t hurt except for flip flops. It was January.
But, if I got out of this, I figured cold feet were a relatively small price to pay.
Behind me, the guys were keeping pace, but not gaining on me. I said a silent ‘thank you’ to my dead mother for the long legs I inherited from her.
I was out of the slums. Crap. ‘Slum’ was probably not the P.C. way to phrase it. But every other word that came to mind seemed even worse: projects, ghetto. Okay. I was sticking with slum. It was a slum, meaning it was a really really crummy part of town that there was no way that I should have been in at twelve o’clock at night, alone, ever. But I had my reasons. I had to be there. I had to see if I could figure out what happened…
“Give it up, Barbie, you ain’t getting away!” one of them called behind me, annoyingly in control of his breath. I’d caught one good glance of him before I started running and didn’t look back. He was the kind of built that came from endless hours in a gym and a very likely heavy use of steroids. He put my thrice-weekly normal workouts and my once weekly hot yoga classes to shame.
The road split ahead and I heard one tell the other to go up some other street to head me off. I needed to lose the guy behind me. Even if it was just for a couple seconds, a couple seconds to find a place to dip into and hide, call the cops, call my father, call someone.
When I heard only one set of feet behind me and, judging by the huffing, it was not the gym rat, I threw everything I had into it and sprang forward, turning the corner with every bit of strength and determination I had in me.
I had just barely made it around the corner when I found myself snagged around the waist. A hand clamped down over my mouth as the arm around my waist held tight and hauled me off my feet, pulling me backward and inside some building.
I felt hysteria flood my system, making me flail out wildly, having no clue what I was actually doing, but knowing I needed to do something.
“Shh,” a voice hissed into my ear as I was pulled deeper into the store.
I was pretty sure quiet wasn’t something I should be either. I was pretty sure I was supposed to scream. But seeing as there was a very strong hand across my mouth, that was pointless anyway.
“How many of them are there?” the voice asked and I noticed two things at once: it was a very nice voice, smooth, sexy and it was not the voice of one of the guys who had been following me for the past ten or fifteen minutes. I made some kind of noise, muffled by the gag. “Don’t scream. You scream, babygirl, and they’ll find you. Got it?”